Construction of a model of the human proximal colon

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The objective of the present study was to construct a system that re-creates the conditions of fermentation and absorption of the human proximal colon. The model was constructed using a glass tube with an internal dialysis membrane tube. The food substrate was fed into the dialysis membrane three times a day simulating a typical human feeding. The substrate contained 58% carbohydrates, 35% proteins, 3% fiber, 3% starch, and 1% lipids on dry weight base, with 90% moisture. The inoculum was a fecal culture propagated in TSB. The intestinal absorption was simulated using a polyethylene glycol (PEG) solution running continuously outside the dialysis membrane. All microorganisms increased their counts after inoculation, and reached higher counts generally after substrate feed. The most important short chain fatty acids (SCFA: acetic, propionic and butyric acids) were analyzed, and their concentrations inside and outside the membrane were significantly different due to the extraction efficiency of the PEG solution. The greatest production occurred at 48 h. SCFA ratios showed that at the beginning, acetate was the predominant compound, but after 12 h the proportion of butyrate increased and the acetate was decreased. This SCFA production pattern is similar to that reported for the proximal colon in live systems. Continuous operation of the colon model for 48 h was enough to reveal the development of microorganisms and SCFA production. This model reproduced the conditions of the human proximal colon adequately and can be used to study the development of colonic microbiota.

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